Fly out to a beautiful island
It is certainly the best known of the Greek islands. Its mills are famous around the world. And so are its beaches! Mykonos is the star of the Cyclades. Undoubtedly because it is a good place to party. But it can also offer visitors gentle, lazy breaks at the water's edge, magical moments where the only thing you have to do is look around and enjoy the view, the view of sea and the setting sun going into the water. A view of white houses and blue domes. A view of happiness all around… especially those you love.
Some reputations are hard to get rid of. Mykonos is a case in point. This top destination of the Cyclades is known for hard partying. Wrong: it's just fun! It's true: party animals have largely built its reputation and continue to go there in great numbers. Yet it because its clientele is more jet-setting than merely young, Mykonos nights are less intense, scandalous and plain mad than those of Ios or Kos. Another lasting prejudice: Mykonos essentially caters to a gay clientele. Again, things are not so clear-cut. It is certainly a gay-friendly island, and has been so for a long time. But the gay community is only one of the components of a local tourism that likes to combine freedom with diversity. Thousands of families can testify to this each year !
A veritable treasure island
However, there are several points on which the reputation of Mykonos is perfectly true. In the first place, its beauty ! Located on the north of the Cyclades, with over 80 kilometers of coastline bathed by the waters of the Aegean sea, the island and its dozen villages with their postcard views cannot but charm : the blue domes of the Orthodox churches, white houses set closely together, cats lazing in the sun… Clichés of the Cyclades, which the capital Chora somewhat escapes. The town dares to accessorise, enhancing its immaculate facades with navy blue, turquoise, lavender, pearl grey, red - the colours traditionally used to decorate the guardrails of its stairs and balconies.
The sails of Chora
The colourful woodwork is not the sole interesting feature of Chora - far from it ! The town also appeals to the tourist with its tangle of alleys, a veritable maze which, in the Middle Ages, preserved the inhabitants from the gusts of wind and was the downfall of any pirates who ventured into them. It is also known for the five windmills of Kato Myli. Located a mere 500 meters from the town centre, perched on a small hill, this five-century old quintet is one of Greece's most famous monuments. Tourists love their whitewashed walls, their thatched roofs and absolutely adore their ample terraces, the perfect spot to enjoy a glorious panoramic view of the sunset.
The temptation of the little Venice
Just as popular and as old as the five guardians of Kato Myli is Little Venice. This is the Mykonos capital's liveliest quarter. It is said that in building these houses, set right on the water with balconies defying the waves, the locals were inspired by the Serenissima itself. And it is possible, given that the Republic of Venice reigned over the region for several centuries, until it was chased away by the Ottomans. But locals have another explanation : if their ancestors built their houses right on the water, it was to ensure that the captains who occupied them could return quickly their boats. Today, no one is the area is in any hurry. With its many bars and restaurants, little Venice has become a place to relax and have fun. There you can enjoy a glass of ouzo, the local anise-flavoured aperitif, or vinsanto, the delicious sweet white wine of Santorini. You can also taste Lita Gyros (Greek kebab), Souvlaki (local brochettes) or the two island specialities, Louza Loukaniko (typical Mykonos sausage) and Kopanisti (a fresh and very peppery goat's cheese).
Another place to relax on Mykonos: its beaches! Long strips of golden sand bathed by the crystalline waters of the Aegean. Crystalline but cool, because of the Meltemi winds that blow on the Cyclades! But not strong enough to spoil the twin pleasures of sun and sea bathing. Looking for is peace and calm? Head to the east part of the island: Kalafati, popular with windsurfers, or Agia Anna and Lia. If you want a livelier atmosphere, head south. Elia is popular with the gay community, while Paradise and Super Paradise pump up the volume to attract beach party enthusiasts. Paranga, much calmer, is ideal for families. Psarou is the most chic with its jet-set clientele and yachts anchored a few hundred meters from the sun loungers. But these are only a few of the many many beaches, all equally beautiful. And if you search carefully, you can even find a few deserted coves on the island. And there, when you are the only person in sight, standing facing the sea, Mykonos really feels like paradise.
Must-see in Mykonos and its surroundings :
The pelicans of Chora : In 1960, a fisherman rescued and cared for an injured pelican. Thoroughly grateful, it never again left men, visiting the port frequently to be fed and photographed. Nicknamed Petros, he died a few years ago. But his place has been taken by a few successors. The latest is Christos!
Panagia Paraportiani : there are more holy places in Mykonos than there are days in the year. Chapels and churches all have a certain charm. But the most beautiful of all is undoubtedly Panagia Paraportiani, on the heights of Chora. Five churches have given rise to one, their walls forming a sort of huge iceberg melting in the Greek sun.
Delos : 30 minutes by boat will take you to this sacred island of the Cyclades, the place of birth of Apollo and Artemis. Listed among the Unesco world heritage sites, it is packed with ancient remains: columns, mosaics and sculptures. Only the Parthenon in Athens can compete with such wealth !
Scuba diving : Mykonos is not just about the beaches, but also and especially about the sea. This corner of the Aegean sea offers beautiful dive sites: reefs, wrecks, underwater caves. It is a world of silence, which, on Mykonos, is rare. So enjoy it !
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